Fed likely to keep rates steady as it awaits Trump economic plan
The U.S. Federal Reserve is expected to keep interest rates unchanged on Wednesday in its first policy decision since President Donald Trump took office, as the central bank awaits greater clarity on his economic policies. Trump has promised a large infrastructure spending program, tax cuts, a rollback of regulations and a renegotiation of trade deals but has offered few details or a timeline for their roll out since his victory in the Nov. 8 election. The central bank’s latest policy decision is scheduled to be released at 2 p.m. EST on Wednesday at the conclusion of a two-day meeting. Fed Chair Janet Yellen is not due to hold a press conference. The policy decision will come a week after Yellen underscored that the U.S. economy is near full employment and warned of a "nasty surprise" on inflation if the Fed is too slow with its rate hikes.
Inflation Rate at ECB Goal Doesn’t Mean Draghi’s Job Is Done
Mario Draghi still has reason to argue that it’s not yet job done when it comes to inflation. Even with consumer-price growth accelerating to 1.8 percent — a rate not recorded since early 2013 — the European Central Bank president can insist that unprecedented stimulus is necessary to put the recovery on a more solid footing and stoke underlying price pressures that continue to be muted. But opposition to his view will probably get louder. Amid a push by some German policy makers that it’s time to start at least considering how to exit from the ongoing stimulus program, Draghi’s response is set to focus on slowly declining unemployment, modest economic growth and the fact that reflation is largely being driven by energy prices. His pushback has also highlighted the risks that could derail expansion this year, including potentially disruptive elections, while underlying inflation remains weak.
Brazil’s Jobless Rate Reaches All-Time High in December
Brazil’s unemployment rate unexpectedly rose to the highest on record at the end of 2016, as a recent drop in borrowing costs has yet to boost Latin America’s largest economy. The jobless rate was 12 percent in the fourth quarter, up from 11.9 percent in the three months ending in November and compared with 11.8 percent in the third quarter. Economists surveyed by Bloomberg estimated unemployment would remain at 11.9 percent. The series compiled by Brazil’s statistics agency starts in 2012. Unemployment has nearly doubled over the past three years, weighing on consumer confidence even as inflation slows. In a bid to revive Latin America’s largest economy, the central bank has stepped up the pace monetary easing, and lower rates are expected to help the economic recovery this year.